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I recently completed an internship at the VA hospital in WI. I wanted to hear some thoughts about other people's experiences with VA hosptials. If anyone has any comments or tips about working in this environment, I would love to hear from you.
I was an LPN for 13 years and graduated in May from an Rn Program and am completing a Nurse Internship at UW-Hospital in Madison. They take post graduate RN's and train them to be Nurse clinicians upon completion of the 3 month program.
Learn lots and meet lots of neat people.
I have had an application for the V.A. hospital that I still haven't fully completed......am leaning at present more towards working at St. Mary's....All the hospitals I have seen and many places I have looked at look like fine potentials......My Father was a patient in a V.A. in Leavenworth, Kansas...From what I recall, from many years ago, they took as good of care of him as they possibly could...had a little bit even to do with WHY I initially became a nurse.....I think V.A. hospitals could be a great place to work and sure offer some wonderful benefits.
I know a few people who work there. They were not happy. But, disgruntled burnt-out employees might not be a good indication of a facility. I used to work at St. Mary's Milwaukee, by the lake. It was a very nice place to work. I left for a full time job closer to my home.
I currently work at a VA Hospital is Wisconsin as a student nurse and they have already offered me a position after I graduate. But there is no way that I would work for that organization. My experience has been that they treat nurses poorly and that there are a lot of politics that mess things up. I believe the treatment is exceptional but the work environment is somewhat hostile. And unfourtunatly, my experience has been, that hostility is being produced by the staff nurses at the hospital. Also my experience has been that the nursing staff and others are not willing to work together to solve problems. There is a lot of "every man/woman for him/herself" and that not many are willing to compromise for the good of the patients. Also there is alot of "You're just a .... (cna/lpn) and therefore you don't know what you are talking about". One of the RN's actually said that to an experienced LPN, and as a BSN student I was appalled because that is not the attitude that should be expressed to any employee. Now the benefits are wonderful (you can retire at 55) and you get 5 weeks of vacation starting out but I still would not work for that organization because of the work environment and the hostility I have encountered. I am looking forward to the end of my summer appointment there and I can't wait to get out of that VA hospital. Unfortunantly one of my first experiences of nursing is turning out to be a negative one, on the positive side this experience is helping me to determine what type of organization I want to eventually work in. Again this has just been my experience and I am sorry if it offends anyone out there.
I just wanted to say I can identify with what you said about how some of the employees at the V.A. think LPN's are totally stupid. I had a terrible experience at a V.A. I went there on a travel assignment, and was treated like I was a "slave" instead of an LPN. Anything the R.N.'s did not want to do, they assigned to me. That usually included all the vital signs and cleaning all the incontinent patients. I was really used in the capacity as a Nurses's aide. When I complained to the Nurse Manager about getting all the "grunge" work she said "It is just like that at the V.A., I wish I could change it, but that is just how the Nurses think here." Several times I was even referred to as the "Aide" by the staff. :angryfire I heard this same story from several of the LPN's that had managed to remain at the V.A. There were not that many of them, because so many got fed up and left to find better jobs. One of the LPN's told me "I should have known how it would be here because when I first went to get an application at the V.A., I found out we are not even classified as Nurses there, we are classified under Health Techs!" Well, I don't know about you guys, but I thought the N, in LPN stood for NURSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!